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Old May 22, 2013, 06:05 PM   #1
dakota.potts
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Florida Mental Health Gun Restrictions Pass Senate

Something I am very PO'd about. Florida Senate Unanimously cleared a bill passing stricter mental health regulations on firearms. Stricter, in this case, not meaning smarter. Basically anyone who voluntarily decides to check themselves in for treatment can no longer own a gun.

All this does is stigmatize mental illness further and I guarantee you it stops people from seeing therapists. How many of you would seek help if it meant you could no longer buy a gun? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't. As far as I understand it, this also extends to rehab for drug and alcohol abusers.

In reading the bill, it doesn't seem initially too bad. It only covers someone who voluntarily submits after certain criteria are satisfied (A doctor determines you are a danger to yourself or others AND a petition for involuntary commitment would be filed in the absence of your voluntary agreement). However, there seem to be no restrictions on what an examining physician must do in order to say that you are a danger to yourself or others. I also see no provisions for getting your state rights back after they have been taken.

Here is the text of the bill
http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill...illText/er/PDF

I don't speak legalese very well so I could easily be missing some things.
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Old May 22, 2013, 08:41 PM   #2
BigD_in_FL
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Quote:
It only covers someone who voluntarily submits after certain criteria are satisfied (A doctor determines you are a danger to yourself or others AND a petition for involuntary commitment would be filed in the absence of your voluntary agreement).
If you are a danger to yourself and others, and someone wants to Baker Act your butt, then you are NOT mentally stable and fit the criteria for denial of gun ownership
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Old May 22, 2013, 09:10 PM   #3
dakota.potts
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I agree. But I don't like how there are no specifications for what can be considered as such, or no formal process (at least to my reading).
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Old May 22, 2013, 09:25 PM   #4
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Agreed, Dakota.

I'd have to read the text of the bill, but as described, the problem with it is that it circumvents any kind of due process, without which it's unconstitutional to deprive a person of rights. It's as if a police officer were to say to someone accused of a crime, "We can do this the easy way, where you agree to go to jail for a year, or we can do it the hard way, where you insist on a trial, which will cost you money, inconvenience everyone, and you'll probably go to jail anyway."

Of course, due process is becoming a rather quaint concept in any case...
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Old May 22, 2013, 09:38 PM   #5
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I can understand the intent of the bill. My biggest problem is that there is no expiration period. It would mean someone with suicidal thoughts who voluntarily admitted themselves following an involuntary examination would be forever barred from owning a firearm in Florida. If you have a tough time of it at age 20 due to girlfriend and school problems, you can't buy that shotgun 20 years later.
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Old May 22, 2013, 10:10 PM   #6
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KyJim, that's the other point I made. I see no provisions for regaining state eligibility. The bill makes a point to clearly distinguish that you can lose your state OR federal rights to own a gun, but never states how you can regain your state rights.

I'm afraid of the scenario where Johnny goes and tells his therapist he's having a hard time with his anxiety. Johnny's therapist, not understanding guns, decides that anybody going through a tough time doesn't need guns, declares him a danger to himself (or others), and Johnny has to give up his rights to guns for life. He could still buy from a private sale without a UBC (unless in a county where these are in place) but who's to say where it goes from there? State wide UBC's? How about a broader definition of mentally unstable? What about the next time we get a mass shooter who's on Zoloft so now anybody on an SSRI or mood altering drug is added to the list?

I understand where the law is coming from but there aren't enough safeguards, in my opinion. There is a fairly big push to get Governor Scott to veto it.

One of the things that disturbs me more is the fact that it passed with 117 yea votes to 1 nay. That can't be a good sign at all.

And I'm a little curious that this bill is NRA backed.
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Old May 22, 2013, 11:24 PM   #7
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Apparently the NRA has decided that someone has to be thrown under the bus in order to placate the anti-gunners, and the mentally ill get to be the throwees.

A quick look at the text of the bill suggests that there is something at least vaguely resembling due process with regard to voluntary commitments: a judge must review and approve the finding that the person is a danger within 48 hours. This isn't the same as an actual hearing, however. It also specifies that a person may petition the court for relief from the firearms disability, but no time frame is spelled out. It also seems to place the burden of proof on the disqualified person to appeal the judgment, rather than requiring a hearing before the firearms disability is imposed.

But unless I'm missing something, the portion of the bill that applies to voluntary commitments seems only to prohibit the person from purchasing firearms and from obtaining (or keeping) a permit to carry, but not from possessing them. There's no provision for confiscating firarms, and the text refers only to purchase/transfer and to eligiblity for concealed carry permits.
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Old May 23, 2013, 04:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakota.potts
It only covers someone who voluntarily submits after certain criteria are satisfied (A doctor determines you are a danger to yourself or others AND a petition for involuntary commitment would be filed in the absence of your voluntary agreement).
That doesn't sound very "voluntary" to me. If I should ever reach a point where some quack wants to have me involuntarily committed, there's no way I'm going to let him (or her) off the liability hook by signing myself in. If the quack thinks I need to be taken off the street, by God he (or she) is going to have to sign his (or her) name to it, because I'm not going to absolve them of responsibility by "voluntarily" committing myself.

And I agree that a law like this will ultimately simply deter people (like me) from seeking help. As a veteran, I have already decided that it would be foolish for me to ever seek any sort of mental health care from the VA. They'd just love to "diagnose" me as having PTSD and reporting me as unfit to possess firearms.
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Old May 23, 2013, 07:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
That doesn't sound very "voluntary" to me. If I should ever reach a point where some quack wants to have me involuntarily committed, there's no way I'm going to let him (or her) off the liability hook by signing myself in. If the quack thinks I need to be taken off the street, by God he (or she) is going to have to sign his (or her) name to it, because I'm not going to absolve them of responsibility by "voluntarily" committing myself.

And I agree that a law like this will ultimately simply deter people (like me) from seeking help. As a veteran, I have already decided that it would be foolish for me to ever seek any sort of mental health care from the VA. They'd just love to "diagnose" me as having PTSD and reporting me as unfit to possess firearms.
I am seeing this a lot here lately with us vets.

David Sarti had this happen to him in Tennessee and even though it was ruled in his favor I do not believe he is eligible for his second amendment rights anymore. He was premiered on Doomsday Preppers and did a joking comment to his health doctor. So I think a combination between his poor choice of wordings and being targeted is what got him in the fire.

I disagree and agree with this bill. I agree that we should not allow people who are not mentally stable possess firearms. At the same time it is infringing on the persons privacy and stating that if they try to get help voluntarily that they will never be mentally stable their entire life.

We ALL go through down points in our life. Especially as young adults being thrown to the wolves. My peeve is a doctor should not have the right to bar a individual just because they are having social adjustments in the real world. This is especially a common situation with college students.

If this bill pass then there has to be a board of doctors to interview the person individually and make a joint decision. Then allow the person to appeal as many times as possible til he is cleared. And the appeal must be done by a completely different group of doctors.
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Old May 23, 2013, 12:22 PM   #10
Dr Big Bird PhD
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Just because I don't want mentally unstable people to have firearms, doesn't mean I want a board of politically appointed bureaucrats to make decisions for me. Especially when their ability to make decisions isn't narrowly tailored, and is instead at their whims and "intuition."
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Old May 24, 2013, 05:01 PM   #11
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The NRA supporting these laws is a terrible mistake. They are as much a slippery slope attack on gun ownership as an AWB or mag ban.

There is no evidence to support such - just heard a review of the issue.
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Old May 24, 2013, 06:34 PM   #12
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Slippery slopes, thin ends of wedges, noses of camels... it's all bad.
Quote:
There is no evidence to support such - just heard a review of the issue.
Source? I'm interested.
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Old May 24, 2013, 08:06 PM   #13
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Is there a way to have your rights re-instated?
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Old May 24, 2013, 08:11 PM   #14
Glenn E. Meyer
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Source - I'm at the Association for Psychological Science meeting and one talk was how gun laws are stigmatizing the mentally ill with no reason. I can give the real reference next week when I get to work.

It's pretty well know that we don't have any reliable violence measures, got the meta-analysis in the office.
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Old May 25, 2013, 03:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Posted by breakingcontact:

Is there a way to have your rights re-instated?
Petition. Probate attorney. Physician testimony.
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